Little League alleges only 5 JRW title players lived within boundaries

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Only 5 JRW title players lived within boundaries, Little League says
Little League alleges that only five of the championship Jackie Robinson West players actually lived within the boundaries.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The legal battle continues as Jackie Robinson West filed a lawsuit after the team was stripped of its championship title.

JRW asked for the lawsuit to be withdrawn last week, but Little League had already filed a formal response. In that response, we get more details about problems behind the scenes with the former national championship league.

As the 2015 Little League World Series begins in Williamsport, Pa., we are reminded that one year ago, many of us were just becoming acquainted with Jackie Robinson West Little League when the team went to Williamsport and the players charmed the nation as they became the 2014 Little League National Champions.

Months later, their title would be stripped and recent court documents reveal more details about Little League's decision.

Attorneys for Little League alleged JRW submitted a boundary map in May. After the championship series, JRW submitted a different map in which 12 of 13 players were within the boundary. Little League asserts after further investigation, the second map was intentionally backdated and the result, only five of the championship players actually lived within the boundaries.

In June, the district administrator overseeing JRW - who was removed from his position - told ABC7 he signed off on the map but it was not his responsibility to investigate the players' addresses.

"We're full time volunteers. Everything we do is a sacrifice. We give them everything, they approve everything," Fmr. Little League District Administrator Mike Kelley said on June 26.

Attorneys for the suspended JRW leadership admitted earlier this summer that mistakes were made and, ultimately, withdrew a lawsuit against Little League last week.

Throughout the scandal, the young men who played and won last summer have grown up and moved on with a new understanding of sports and life. A few weeks ago, they commented on their ordeal.

"They said that we cheated. All of us, we got cheated. We didn't cheat, they cheated us," said DJ Butler, JRW '14 player.

Neither attorneys for little League or JRW would speak on camera.

The attorney for Little League released a statement late Tuesday saying in part: "Through its recent legal filings, Little League has chosen to be deceitful and dishonest by withholding material and critical information... The game is far from over."

It seems there may be more legal battles ahead.